May 16, 2013
The Learning Connection Report from our partner in health, Action for Healthy Kids, aligns perfectly with our model for the Balance My Day™ curriculum and we are thrilled to join them in demonstrating that well-nourished and active kids are better equipped for success!
- physical activity supports academic achievement,
- well-nourished kids learn better and
- that healthier practices in schools can increase school revenue.
The easy-to-read special report, released in 2013, is a roadmap for parents, educators, school administrators and school volunteers to create healthier school environments so the kids in their lives are better positioned to learn.
It’s a follow-up to Action for Healthy Kids’ landmark 2004 report The Learning Connection: The Value of Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity in Our Schools.
Read the full report:
Learn more about HKC’s Balance My Day™ nutrition curriculum.
April 18, 2013
The Challenge: Make it easier for your family to choose healthy foods – at home, eating out, wherever! Building on the ideas from this week’s WOWS newsletter, here are some simple ways to make it happen:
- Keep grab ‘n go breakfast ideas in reach, like string cheese, whole grain crackers and an apple.
- Try a new fruit or veggie, like jicama or starfruit, as a family.
- Flavor ice cold water with lemon, lime, or orange slices to give it a zing when choosing it as a mealtime beverage instead of sugary drinks.
Also, I want to point out that Let’s Move Healthy Families is a great resource, aligned with our principles, providing ideas like:
- Mix vegetables into dishes, like adding peas to rice, or cucumbers to a sandwich
- Choose lean cuts of meat like skinless chicken or extra lean ground beef for hamburgers or pasta sauces
- Have kids drink water at snack time
- Kids are smaller than adults and should eat smaller portions
There are so many ways you can meet this family challenge, but you must first CHOOSE to take action. Today’s a great day to start!
April 11, 2013
Honoring our special April Healthy Foods Challenges, we have 3 freebies to help you meet those challenges this month. Enjoy!
Snack Attack Activity
1. Ask kids to name benefits of snacks containing less fat and less added sugar.
- Help us feel good and feel good about ourselves
- A healthier body weight
- A healthier heart
- Gives more nutrients to do our best in school
2. Discuss why we make the choices we do. Is it because the snacks:
- Taste good?
- Are easy to fix?
- Satisfy hunger or give energy?
- Are what their parents or someone else buys or fixes?
- Are the coolest ones to eat?
TWO Snack Attack Printables!
When on the go, bring along energizing snacks! Whether traveling, camping, or transporting kids to activities, the following ideas are sure to help you satisfy those hunger attacks in a hectic day.
Make the next happy celebration a healthy one too! These snack ideas and activities can be as popular as the traditional high fat and sugar party foods!
From the Big Apple of New York City to sunny California, Healthy Kids Challenge® (HKC) is a shining star in helping PEP grantees create a healthier school environment that lasts far beyond the three year grant award! HKC, a nonprofit with a staff of registered dietitians, is the exclusive nutrition education partner for SPARK, one of the best physical education programs in the world – a true solution to our problem of inactive and poorly nourished kids.
Since nutrition education was added to the PEP grant requirements in 2010, just 3 years ago, Healthy Kids Challenge has assisted over 50 PEP winners. Whether your school is looking to integrate nutrition education into core curriculum and comply with common core/state standards…or challenge your PE teachers with the task of adding nutrition to their PE/health curriculum, our success with guiding schools speaks for itself.
HKC provides training, resources, and technical assistance for:
- classroom and PE teachers
- after school staff
- school wellness councils and
- community partners.
Customized staff training, comprehensive nutrition education curriculum for grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8 that meets all HECAT (Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool) standards set by CDC, and distance assistance and coaching can all be part of a successful PEP grant award!
Learn more at healthykidschallenge.com or call 1-888-259-6287.
December 6, 2012
Have you heard about Fuel Up to Play 60 and wondered what the buzz is all about?
Now in nearly 73,000 schools nationwide, Fuel Up to Play 60 is the in-school nutrition and physical education program founded by the National Dairy Council and the NFL, in collaboration with USDA, that empowers students to take charge in making small, everyday changes for their own health. Students in Fuel Up to Play 60 schools participate in fun Challenges, track their own healthy eating and physical activity, and help implement and complete “Plays” from a football-inspired Playbook.
But students can’t do it alone. More than 26,000 adults – PE teachers, classroom teachers, school nutrition directors, school nurses, administrators and others – currently lead Fuel Up to Play 60 in their schools in the role of a Program Advisor. And, their involvement makes all the difference. School engagement and student awareness and involvement significantly increase with the presence of a Program Advisor – particularly when two or more adults are working with kids in a leadership capacity.
“As a PE teacher, Fuel Up to Play 60 was right up my alley,” says Daniel Hill, the Program Advisor at Tates Creek Elementary in Lexington, Kentucky, who has used Fuel Up to Play 60 to hold “taste tests” to expose kids to new foods, organize a healthy chili night featuring local produce, and much more. “But the program has both a nutrition component and a physical activity component, so I wanted to make sure when we did food tastings and a chili night that our food service director was involved. That collaboration was a benefit.”
Are you passionate about helping students learn to eat healthy and move more? Please consider joining the ranks of Fuel Up to Play 60 champions as a catalyst for change in your school. Visit FuelUpToPlay60.com to get started today, or tune in to a free Action for Healthy Kids webinar to learn more about the program basics, what it means to be a Program Advisor, and how to apply for a competitive grant of up to $4,000 per school to implement Fuel Up to Play 60 at your school.
November 21, 2012
The Champions for Healthy Kids Grant is accepting applications through December 3, 2012, and Healthy Kids Challenge can help!
Through the Champions for Healthy Kids program, the General Mills Foundation will award 50 grants of $10,000 to nonprofit organizations working to improve nutrition and physical fitness behaviors for youth (ages 2-18).
Healthy Kids Challenge and SPARK, HKC’s Physical Education Partner, can help you in creating a healthier kids environment no matter where you are or what stage you are in. Follow this link to find out exactly how via our webinar about the Champions for Healthy Kids Grant:
Move & Learn is how we refer to the physical activity sections within each and every nutrition lesson of the Balance My Day™curriculum. Why include physical activity lessons in a nutrition education curriculum? Oh there are so many reasons why! I could write 4 more blog posts about why. How about I just stick with this for starters: Pairing healthy eating habits with moving more is what’s best for kids’ bodies and minds.
Here’s one to try:
Adjectives and Healthy Snacks Move & Learn
*developed for grades K-2, but easily adaptable for older kids
Ask kids to jump up and perform a movement (touch the sky, hop, run in place) when they hear an adjective in front of a healthy snack choice. Read from the following list:
toasted, mini bagel
crisp whole grain tortilla
chewy string cheese
If you like this one, there are 29 more in that K-2 Balance My Day™curriculum, one for every nutrition lesson. There are 60 more Move & Learns, all age-appropriate and linked to the nutrition lessons…AND every Balance My Day™curriculum comes with SPARK PE lessons to support and enhance the curriculum!
Now for the “improving academic performance” part of this…As I said there are so many reasons to combine nutrition and physical activity when it comes to kids’ health. One that is receiving major attention lately is the positive association between physical activity and academic performance. While there are literally hundreds of studies supporting this link, I want to simply share 3 statements from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) specifically about studies on classroom physical activity breaks:
- Eight of the nine studies found positive associations between classroom-based physical activity and indicators of academic performance.
- Classroom teachers can incorporate movement activities and physical activity breaks into the classroom setting that may improve student performance and the classroom environment. Most interventions reviewed here used short breaks (5–20 minutes) that required little or no teacher preparation, special equipment, or resources.
- School boards, school administrators, and principals can feel confident that maintaining or increasing time dedicated for physical activity during the school day will not have a negative impact on academic performance, and it may positively impact students’ academic performance.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Association Between School Based Physical Activity, including Physical Education, and Academic Performance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010. http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/health_and_academics/pdf/pa-pe_paper.pdf
For more evidence-based information on this topic, here are two links:
Healthy Policies, Practices, and Environments – Healthy Kids Challenge
Academics and Physical Activity – The SPARK Programs
September 13, 2012
- Using a MyPlate poster, point out the fruit and vegetable food groups.
- Have kids draw the MyPlate icon on a paper plate.
- Ask kids what veggies they eat. Instruct them to write in the veggie section of MyPlate, all the different veggies they usually eat.Find the full activity – and more ideas – on our September Monthly Action Idea page.
Active Play – Fun Moves Everywhere
This month our parent tip sheet focuses on Active Play. Click the link, scroll to the bottom of the page, download it and share!
Challenge yourself and your family to try these ideas to add more healthy activity into your day! Every little bit helps and soon a little bit, can make a BIG difference.
August 30, 2012
1. Take a group walk!
Whether you are a principal leading a school-wide morning walk or a teacher/youth leader providing an afternoon break, it’s worth the time spent. A routine walk helps kids re-focus, but also sends the message that physical activity is an important part of the day. Check out The Morning Mile for more ideas!
2. Incorporate HKC’s Monthly Action Ideas into your lesson plans.
The activities are based on HKC’s Healthy6 messages making teaching easier and learning FUN! Simple instructions make them easy to do, while offering healthy learning. Try fun challenges for teachers and students, like this Fruit & Veggie Challenge.
3. Offer physical activity as a reward for good behavior.
It’s a win-win for everyone! From early childhood to high school age, SPARK offers fun ideas for physical activity. Their website offers a collection of free SPARK Physical Education Lesson Plans.
4. Provide “healthy” free time activities.
Offer Nourish Interactive free printables, like healthy foods activites or even ones having a holday theme! Or, use HKC’s Healthy6 topics to spur class discussions about healthy eating and physical activity.
5. Role-model healthy habits.
Participate in active games with your class/group. Set water at your desk to drink during the day and allow your students to keep water at their desks too. Try the CIGNA Healthy Balance Toolkit to see which habits you excel at and which ones you can improve on.
August 2, 2012
This month’s ideas are fresh and fun. Check ‘em out…
Take Action! Play the “Higher or Lower” Game
- Choose a number of food items to use for guessing portion size in this activity.
- Have kids volunteer to measure what they THINK is a serving size for each of the food items.
- Ask the rest of the group if they think the serving size should be “higher or lower”.
Follow the link for the entire activity and bonus tips: Smart Servings Action Idea: Higher or Lower
Use the snack tip sheet:
Healthy Celebration Snack Ideas
Click the link and then scroll down for the download.
Take our August “Healthy Kids Challenge”:
I challenge you to read the Nutrition Facts Label of the snacks you eat. Learn the amount of calories, fats and sugar in those foods and make adjustments in the portions you eat to lower those amounts. Good luck!